Italian regulator admits it has redetermined the fines against Apple and Amazon, over the sale of Apple and Beats products
The Italian antitrust regulator had admitted it made a mistake and has tweaked the amount of money it has fined Apple and Amazon.
Last November the Italian Competition Authority, known as the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM), concluded its investigation into Apple and Amazon.
It fined both companies, saying they had colluded so only selected resellers were allowed to sell Apple products, such as iPhones, iPad, and Apple Watch, and Beats headphones on Amazon’s Italian marketplace (Amazon.it).
Apple bore the brunt of the $225m fine, after it was fined 134.5m euros ($151m), while Amazon was pinged for 68.7m euros ($77m).
Last month however the AGCM said it had ‘redetermined’ the fines for Apple and Amazon.
“Having ascertained a clerical error in the calculation of the fine in decision no. 29889 of 16 November 2021 – the Italian Antitrust Authority has redetermined the fines imposed on the companies of the Apple and Amazon Groups,” it said at the time.
“After the recalculation, the fines are therefore equal to EUR 114,681,657 for the Apple Group and EUR 58,592,754 for the Amazon Group.”
So the ICA only reduced Apple and Amazon’s down 20m euros and 10m euros respectively.
Reuters reported that the AGCM on Thursday recalculated the fines for the US firms due to a “material error” in the first calculation.
Apple had purchased premium headphone manufacturer Beats Electronics for $3 billion back in 2014.
The ICA however took issue with a contract signed between Apple and Amazon in October 2018, which restricted the sale of Apple’s electronics and Beats-branded gear on Amazon.it to just carefully chosen resellers.
This meant that even if a firm was an authorised Apple reseller, if it was not on a separate reseller list then they could not sell Apple and Beats products on Amazon.it.
In July 2020 offices in Italy belonging to both Apple and Amazon were raided to gather evidence.
The ICA then concluded that both parties engaged in these practices, which are against EU competition law.
For Amazon, this fine is in reality not its main headache in Italy.
Its main worry came last month, when the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato levelled a punishing 1.13 billion euros ($1.28 billion) fine against the e-commerce giant.
The AGCM alleged Amazon had harmed competing operators in the e-commerce logistics service.
“Amazon holds a dominant position in the Italian market for intermediation services on marketplaces, which Amazon leveraged to favour the adoption of its own logistics service – Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) – by sellers active on Amazon.it to the detriment of the logistics services offered by competing operators, as well as to strengthen its own dominant position,” said Italy’s AGCM.
But Amazon strongly disagreed, and called the proposed fine “unjustified and disproportionate” and said it would appeal.
The EU Commission however has said it had co-operated closely with the Italian competition authority on the case, within the framework of the European Competition Network, to ensure consistency with its two own ongoing investigations into Amazon’s business practices.
Last year the AGCM also fined Google 102 million euros over “abuse of dominant position” in its car software product.
In February, it hit Meta (Facebook) with a fine of 7 million euros over its use of data.